The impact of married women's employment on household expenditures for clothing

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


The objective of this research was to analyze the impact of wives’ employment status and occupation on household expenditures for clothing, when controlling for income and various sociodemographic variables.

The sample consisted of 2,285 households selected from the public use tapes of the Quarterly Interview component of the 1980-81 Consumer Expenditure Survey conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

A four-stage econometric analysis of the data included: (1) probit analysis to obtain predicted probabilities of wives’ labor force participation; (2) tobit analysis to predict wives’ wage rates; (3) tobit analyses of six separate clothing expenditure models that contained predicted values from (1) and (2); and (4) tobit analysis of a clothing expenditure model that contained predicted values from (2) in addition to dummy variables for wives’ occupations.

The predicted probability of the wife’s employment status was not significant in explaining expenditures for household, women’s, boy’s, or infant’s clothing. Expenditures for men’s clothing were positively affected by an increase in the predicted probability of the wife’s employment, while expenditures for girl’s clothing were negatively impacted by an increase in the predicted probability. Households with women employed in Professional, Traditional, or Uniformed occupations exhibited higher expenditures for clothing than did households with women who were homemakers.